Choosing/changing a system supplier

Choosing/changing a system supplier

Pharmacy systems are business critical so it is essential to give careful consideration to selecting a suitable system supplier. Questions that you may want to ask a prospective supplier when enquiring or negotiating include:

  • EPSR2: How effectively does the supplier support the efficient use of EPSR2, how does the supplier provide enhancements beyond the minimum standards?
  • Upgrade costs: What costs will be incurred in upgrading (one-off and ongoing)?
  • Contract Length: What is the contract length and the detail of the service level agreement? Is there a penalty clause for early termination of the contract? What is the ease and cost of transferring data into the system at the beginning of the contract or out of the system at the end of the contract?
  • Additional hardware?: Will the pharmacy need any additional hardware? Will this be provided by the system supplier or will you have to purchase it separately?
  • Training at start and when GPs go live: How does the system supplier plan to train pharmacy staff in using the new system? Is refresher training available if there is a gap between installation and GP deployment? What type of training is being offered and does it meet the needs of your pharmacy team?
  • Ongoing support: What ongoing system support is available?
  • Failures: What arrangements are in place for when something goes wrong? What are the helpdesk opening hours ? What are the guaranteed response times for dealing with problems when they occur? What contingency arrangements are put in place to ensure that there is business continuity, for example 3G back-up cards, off-site back-ups etc.? What are the escalation routes if the supplier doesn’t meet the guaranteed response times? Are there options available for raising an incident or do all support requests need to be made by phone?
  • User testing?: How much user engagement is there in the ongoing development of the system?
  • Beyond EPS:What functionality is in the system or in development to support the provision of services (for example support for the New Medicine Service, support for recording MURs electronically and generating printed copies of the MUR Form etc.)?
  • Robot integration?: If the pharmacy uses or is planning to use an EPOS system or dispensing robot, does the PMR integrate with this technology.
  • Alerts and reports – How effectively will the system alert you to issues, or prescriptions which haven’t been claimed? What type of reports will the system be able to generate, i.e. your end of month figures to include in your submission document to the Pricing Authority? Or, identifying patients who have incomplete exemption status?

Also where there has been a change of F code at a pharmacy this could impact how NHS IT such as EPS will function within the pharmacy. See Allocation of F Codes for further information.

Relates resources

For more on preparing/enhancing EPS click on the link buttons below:

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